Interview: Grey Worm from Game of Thrones releases debut album as Raleigh Ritchie

Raleigh Ritchie's debut album

Raleigh Ritchie's debut album - Credit: Archant

Raleigh Ritchie aka Jacob Anderson has played Grey Worm in three seasons of HBO’s Game of Thrones but has a dual music career and plays the Kentish Town Forum on April 28 showcasing his debut album. Bridget Galton asks him about acting and music.

Raleigh Ritchie

Raleigh Ritchie - Credit: Archant

Q: You were born in Bristol in 1990 an exciting time musically, what did you grow up listening to?

A: All sorts. I listened to Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation show religiously, which was largely Soul and R&B, but then I discovered Bowie, The Smiths, The Maccabees. My friend gave me a copy of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions at school and it changed my life. I have a weird taste in music, in that I don’t really have one. I didn’t really get into all that ‘Bristol Sound’ stuff until I was living in London. I was pretty mad at myself when I heard Portishead and Massive Attack properly at 18 and it had been right on my doorstep growing up. My parents hung out with all those people so I think I always wanted to rebel against it.

Q: You moved to London in your teens how did that go?

A: Well I didn’t move to make music. I kind of just moved to move. I wanted to try a different speed and I had a few work opportunities so I took them. It wasn’t easy at first, it took its toll on me. I was anxious to get to work as a kid and so I kind of skipped over the being a kid bit and it messed my development up a bit, but I was driven. It all turned out okay in the end.

Q: You’ve only just released your debut album were you determined to make time for music?

A: I was always writing songs, I’ve never stopped, but I just became aware that I was taking acting jobs to pay rent and I’d written all this music that I wasn’t doing anything with, and I knew that I needed to focus and put a new kind of energy into it if I didn’t want to be accused of being an ‘actor TURNED musician’, so I just went for it. It’s been fine, I can do both.

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Q: Tell us a bit about the album and its influences.

A: I write songs because I feel I have to. It’s my way of working through my problems. If something’s bothering me, I try to make sense of it by articulating my feelings in a song. This first album is kind of like a journal of my neuroses and trying to navigate being an “adult” whilst feeling like a child still. I worked out by the end that I was learning a lot about myself through the relationships I have with other people and that’s what makes up the album.

Q: You’ve appeared in some great series but how did you feel getting cast in Game of Thrones?

A: Its an amazing thing to be a part of. We have a lot of fun. And everybody working on it is lovely, not a bad egg in the bunch. And this Season is the best yet. Genuinely. I can tell you that much. There’s A LOT happening this year.

Q: What’s in store for Grey Worm?

A: Grey Worm is learning about politics and about a different type of leadership than he’s used to.

Q: He’s a stoical soldier taught to show little emotion but with a human side and even a romantic storyline. Is he anything like you?

A: Nah he’s not a lot like me. We have a few crossovers. We’re both pretty shy, but I’m not a particularly serious person. I’m a bit of a child. But it’s fun to play someone like that, it’s challenging, keeping a straight face.

Q: You live in NW London. How does it feel to play the Forum?

A: I do live in North West London. N Dubz. I’m excited to be playing so close to home! I’ve never actually been to The Forum but I eat across the road at Joe’s Southern Kitchen all the time, so that’s convenient for my pre-show meal. Also, it’s only 5-10 minutes on the tube from my flat.

Q: Will you still act if your music career takes off?

A: As far as I’m concerned there’s always time to do the things you want to do if you want to do them enough.